FREE Cooking Classes for Junior Chefs at Williams-Sonoma

Do you have a child who loves to cook?  During the month of July Williams-Sonoma is hosting FREE cooking classes for Junior Chefs.  The recipes are held in all the stores.


Photo Credit: Williams-Sonoma

Learn how to make fruit tarts, spiralized snacks, summer salads & milk shakes.  There is also a class to make ice cream & ice pops tomorrow which has a couple of spots still available.  Class times vary and size is very limited.  Make sure to call your local Williams-Sonoma to register.  Details here:  Williams-Sonoma Jr Chef Classes

Tour de Fork at Victoria Gardens

We’re excited to support the 2nd annual Tour de Fork at Victoria Gardens on Thursday, June 26th.   The second annual Tour de Fork at Victoria Gardens will benefit three local charities, including Rancho Cucamonga Community & Arts FoundationRancho Cucamonga Library Foundation and Rancho Cucamonga Animal Care & Services.  100 percent of the event proceeds will go directly to these organizations.


The event provides participants with a great way to enjoy local cuisine and give back to charity.  2014 Tour De Fork event tickets are now on sale.  Tickets are limited to the first 500 people, and must be purchased prior to the event date. Each ticket entitles a guest to unlimited food tastings, as well as five alcoholic beverage tastings.

Ticket pricing is as follows:

  • $40 per ticket if purchased at the Rancho Cucamonga Cultural Center Box Office
  • $42 per ticket if purchased online
  • $50 per ticket if purchased the week of the event

For event details, participating restaurants and to purchase tickets online visit:

Here are our photos from the 2013 event.

2013 Participating Restaurants:

N7 Creamery

Corner Bakery

California Pizza Kitchen

Crepes de Paris

Johnny Rockets

King’s Fish House

T.G.I. Friday’s

P.F. Chang’s China Bistro

Lucille’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Que

Slater’s 50/50

Special Guest Restaurants:

Antonino Italian Restaurant and Bar

Haandi Indian Cuisine

Aria Restaurant and Lounge

Magic Lamp Inn Steakhouse

Things to Do in the Inland Empire With Your Pre-Teen

Once kids reach a certain age, there begins the lament of “There’s nothing to do,” or “I’m bored,” on a weekly, daily, or (on really bad days) an hourly basis.  While my usual philosophy to these cries is to assign a chore, once kids reach a certain age you can’t take it for granted when they want to hang out with you because it won’t last much longer.  To that end, here is a collection of fun stuff you can do with your pre-teen here in the Inland Empire.

Like a classic with staying power, skate parties, sessions, and rinks are still around because it’s simple fun, gets your blood pumping, and comes with dance music!  Our area offers us Skate Express in Chino, Cal Skate in Grand Terrace, Roller City 2001 in Riverside, and Roller City Plus in Fontana.  The Inland Empire area also brings us quite a few ice skating rinks like IceTown in Riverside, Ontario Center Ice Arena and Ontario Ice Skating Center both totally different places in Ontario, and last but not least Desert Ice Castle in Cathedral City.


Laser tag can also offer an exciting time or a good party.  We have Laser Quest in Chino, Laser Island in Upland, and Triple O Lazer Tag in Moreno Valley.  Paintball takes this notion up a notch, Jungle Island Paintball & Airsoft Park in Lake Elsinore comes complete with a Little Warrior Arena especially for kids 6-12.  Along with Action Star Games Paintball Park in Colton and SC Village Paintball & Airsoft Park in Corona both with a minimum age requirement of 10, the inland has your pre-teen covered.  

If heart racing is how you like your fun, try indoor go kart racing at K1 Speed in Ontario, San Bernardino Raceway, or Pole Position Raceway in Corona.  Adams Motorsports Park in Riverside not only has outdoor kart racing but a Racing Academy with classes for ages 5-95 and a plethora of other motorsports available to watch.  The Auto Club Speedway in Fontana offers a quite a few races and other events to watch as well.

If your family enjoys watching sports together, save money on gas and support a local team.  Minor league baseball teams like The Inland Empire 66ersRancho Cucamonga Quakes, and Lake Elsinore Storm, have been around for years and offer tons of fun and great deals for families.  If baseball isn’t your thing, try heading to the Citizens Business Bank Arena to watch the Ontario Reign hockey team or the Ontario Fury arena soccer team or any number of other special events.

Lately my pre-teen has been singing “Let It Go” all day non stop on repeat so that must mean its time to take her to a show!  The Inland Empire has TONS to offer in terms of local theatre.  From a show at Landis Performing Arts Center in Riverside to California Theater of the Performing Arts in San Bernardino or the Lewis Family Playhouse in Rancho Cucamonga the inland has got you covered.  Plus there is even more theater in our community if you can appreciate all of it that exists on a smaller scale as well.  These theaters include but are not limited to: the Yucaipa Little TheatreLifeHouse Theater in Redlands, Redlands Theatre FestivalOld Town Temecula Community TheaterChino Community Theatre and the list goes on.  There are players and productions ALL OVER the Inland Empire.


With the weather warming up, the days are quickly approaching when places like The Cove Waterpark in Riverside, Soak City in Palm Springs, Splash Kingdom in Redlands will be opening.  A brand new Drop Zone water park in Perris is set to open by Memorial Day.  There are a few local parks that also offer water play including Celebration Park in Moreno Valley, Doty Trust Park in Riverside, or Citrus Park in Corona.  Days vary as to when they “turn the water on” so check with your local park for the days and times. 


View from Rancho Jurupa Park.

If you have an outdoorsy kid that loves to camp, fish, hike, bike, or just generally explore may I suggest Rancho Jurupa Park in Riverside or Lake Perris in Moreno Valley if you need to add boating to that list.  The former has a splash pad and miniature and disc golf courses and the latter not only offers you the opportunity to boat but to watch the occasional boat race.  To be honest though, growing up here some of my favorite parks were the San Bernardino County Regional Parks, Prado (for the tadpoles) and Guasti (for the pool) in particular.  Some city parks can offer up some great experiences too like Fairmount Park in Riverside (hungry ducks anyone?), look around and find one the whole family can enjoy!

things_to_do_inland_empire_riverside_fairmount_parkThe last thing I wanted to share was that good old Fiesta Village, an IE classic for almost 45 years, has kart racing, laser tag, a water park, outdoor rollerskating, and batting cages along with all the other fun stuff like mini-golf, arcade games, and amusement rides that accompany your typical Family Fun Zone.  There are reasons a classic remains a classic.    

Encouragement for Moms – Productive Relaxation

Around the age of 30 I took a serious inventory of my life. I was married to the man I loved, had a wonderful two-year-old son, a beautiful newborn daughter, and I made a difference daily in the lives of the children I taught.

This is it, I thought, I have accomplished all my goals. I was still patting myself on the back for a life well-lived when a thought entered my mind. What about my book?

Ah, yes, the book I started my last year in college. The Christian romance that I promised myself I would finish every year, usually before my birthday. The story that had been rolling around in my head for a decade. What about that book?

I enjoyed writing even as a child. I spent hours thinking of stories and then writing them. I considered it my hobby before I had kids.

I sighed. Would this be one more thing I sacrificed for my kids? I had scrapbooks unfinished and drawers of stamps I had no time to use. Would this story that had developed over a decade go untold as well? That night I decided I would accomplish this goal as well.

Twenty minutes a day, that’s where I started. After dinner when the dishes were done, I would sneak into the office and type away. My husband, Jeff, supported my efforts, but at first there were many interruptions – a screaming baby, a demanding toddler, and something really important always ended up missing as soon as I went into hiding. Some days I wrote only a few sentences. Rather than giving up, I grew more persistent because, as I used my gift, I found peace. I could feel the stress of the day literally melt away as I entered my fictional world. I craved more. And then one day about three months into my pursuit, the most awesome thing happened. I was in the midst of making dinner after coming home from a stressful day of work. My head hurt and the kids were whining. I thought I was going to lose it any minute.

“Why don’t you go write?” Jeff removed the spoon I was stirring the spaghetti sauce with from my hand. “I’ve got this. Go write so you can relax.”

My mouth opened, ready to argue with him, until I realized what he had done. He had granted me freedom to unwind.

My husband hasn’t always been around to help me achieve my balance of writing time, especially when he started working nights; however, making sure the kids had a strict bedtime gave me hours to write while waiting for him to come home. Even now my ten and twelve year old know Mom is off the clock at 8:30 p.m. That’s my time to sit with my laptop and get lost in my writing. I have found doing something I love provides me more joy and peace than any amount of time watching TV or doing other mindless activities.

I know what you’re thinking. “You don’t know how exhausted I am at night. It takes all my energy to make it through the day. I can’t be productive.”

I do understand, because I’ve been there. I literally spent an entire summer on the couch, in pain, watching TV and playing games on my phone trying to avoid my pathetic reality. Where did it get me? More pathetic than when I began. The next summer was just as painful and I finished one book and started another, both of which have been published.

productive relaxation

What if writing isn’t your gift? I have a friend who loves to crochet. She sits at night after the kids have gone to bed and has made baby blankets and hats to give to birthing centers. Another friend loves cooking, so she blesses sick moms and new moms with meals. Another loves crafting and is always coming up with creative ways to bless people. I use the trivets she recently made me daily. My friend that loves exercising started a free weekly exercise class for women. She inspired many ladies on to good health and habits.

I still go on Facebook for about fifteen minutes a day. My husband and I enjoy watching TV together occasionally, but I know from experience there is such a thing as productive relaxation. The trick is finding the passion you have and using it to enrich the lives of others. The coolest part? Not only will you be using your gifts to bless others, but your kids will see it. My daughter loves art. Once a week she does some kind of project and often gives it away to someone else. My son has a passion for reptiles. While other people rescue cats and dogs, he rescued bearded dragons this year. You may think reptiles don’t have feelings, but I do believe our four beasts know my son’s love for them.

I think it’s time we stop resorting to mindless entertainment in what little free time we have as mothers. Make the best use of your child’s nap time or that fifteen minutes you sit waiting for your kids to get out of school by doing an activity you enjoy that will benefit others. My writing? It started out as something I did for myself, to release all those stories that were stuck in my head. Today it has turned into a way to encourage and inspire others. One hundred years from now it won’t matter how many candies you crushed or if you knew the latest dirt on the popular movie stars. Take what little free time you have and pour it into something you can truly be proud of. Trust me, it will be worth the effort and you will find the peace and relaxation you are looking for.